Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Princess cake and guided tour

The days are passing by in the usual sleepy way here in Skara. We are enjoying our holidays by going for long walks and enjoying our favourite Swedish food, mostly. I have already been for a bike ride and will give the kids’ bikes some love too so they can some along.

Yesterday we did a small excursion to Lidköping, did a quick browse around the shops and had fika at the famous Rådhuscafé. Kids had princess cake, of course. One of many musts during the summer. 

Then the kids and I joined a guided walked city tour, which also was dramatised. Such a nice idea! 

We walked through the city center and stopped in different places to be shown scenes from the lives of some of the people that have played an important role in the history of Lidköping. 

The guide connected all the stories for us, and it was a rather lovely hour walk around town. 

Lidköping is such a beautiful city, along the Lidan river.


This year they also had an open-air art exhibition in the city gardens and along the Lidan. We spotted only a couple of the artwork, both banana themed for some reason.


Sunday, 11 July 2021

In the green

We have arrived in the green! And I have decided to give the blogging on-the-go a chance this summer anyway. Let’s see how it goes.

It was a rather long trip this time, maybe because we actually spent more hours in the airports than in the airplanes!


As Nathan had to get up early to go to work the day after we left, and we really wanted a lift to the airport rather than have to take two taxis, we ended up at Abu Dhabi airport THREE hours before our flight. We were the only ones in the BC check-in area, and were done and through immigration and security in less than 10 minutes. Then we waited. Our flight was in the middle of the night, a 02.25 departure, zzzzz.
I had to order myself a Sidehustle beer, just to take photos of it! Imagine, we have OUR beer - on the national airline! So so cool!

In Frankfurt we had a 5,5 hour transit. Such a boring airport, argh, but we found a quiet table away from the crowds and passed time with some pretzel eating, people watching - and our devices. 
At least both the flights went well, and we arrived GOT to be greeted by Mormor and Morfar. We made a quick stop at Max of course on the way home to their house, had to get our fix straight away.


We also had to check how much the kids had grown, straight away. Just a bit..!


I went for a walk already that evening, even though it was windy and grey, and slightly raining. I just had to get out and enjoy all the smells, the green, and the fresh air..! It’s the little things. 

Friday, 9 July 2021

4 July - 9 July 2021

Sunday and we woke up with all the ACs not working... arrghhh. So everyone was awake earlier than we wanted, but in the end that was good as the maintenance team could address the issue straight away. After some pre-travel admin, Linnea and I went to IKEA to pick up her new mirror which had finally come back in stock, and to the new M&S in Yas Mall for lunch. Nathan was at work and Lucas hung out with Yazan so the kids got pizza and Nathan and I had left overs.

Monday and we started this day bright and early too, as we had the exterminators coming to deal with the ants invasion. Nathan went to work in the afternoon and the rest of us mooched around. We are all in pre-travel mode so actually just enjoy being home. For dinner we had chicken tikka masala, cauliflower rice and edamame.

Tuesday and I woke Lucas up early again, as we were going to play padel with Cecilia and her son David. It was a while since he had been up that early, and been outside in the heat AND played padel; so we only played the three games and then he had to give up. But it was fun!
We had a birthday Zoom with cousin Caitlin who turned 20 today (where has time gone??!), and then Linnea and I went to Abu Dhabi Mall to have a look for some swimmers. Mission complete, we found some really nice ones! We had dinner with Peta and Browny to wish each other happy summer.

Wednesday and time for the dental hygienist for the kids, then an afternoon of going through the packing. In the evening I dropped Lucas off at the mall to see a friend while I played padel in the city. Last padel in the heat for now. Picked him up again, and came home to creamy salami pasta which I devoured, yum!

Thursday and the kids and I went for our pre-travel PCR-test in the morning before Linnea and I went to the hairdresser and then to the nail salon, to get travel ready. Busy, busy day which warranted take-away from the Granite shop for dinner, and movie night with 'Tomorrow War'.

Friday and the PCR results came in just as I had my morning coffee, which meant I could get on with the online check-in. Anyone remembers how it was to travel when all you needed was your passport..?!!
The rest of the day went by with mooching around, again - finishing off the packing and doing a quick supermarket run so Nathan doesn't starve the first few days at least... He is at work today, so when he gets home we will have pork loin, mashed potatoes and bearnaise sauce for dinner before it is time to hit the airport for that middle-of-the-night-flight. Hasta la vista!

Sunday, 4 July 2021

27 June - 3 July 2021

Sunday and last week of school has started for this school year. Nathan went flying all day and I was really bored so started the ordering of stuff for the summer... ha ha, made me a little bit happier. Pasta and Swedish meatsauce (not tomato based) for dinner.

Monday and we managed another padel game. Today with Cecilia's son David stepping in as the forth player. Good fun!


The rest of the day didn't bring anything else exciting to write about. Nathan was at work, kids at school and I... I... I don't know where the day went. Took Lucas over to Yas Mall as he was having dinner with some of his friends, and the rest of us had steak, egg and chips for dinner. I finished the evening with a Zoom with Linda and Anna.

Tuesday and Nathan did a morning bike ride while I did the treadmill. 

 

We then had lunch at Brot in Al Zeina, said hi to Peta, and Nathan went for a haircut next door before we picked the kids up. We ate so much I got a tummy ache, and for dinner nobody was really hungry. TV-dinner with bangers in bread it was.

Wednesday and I started the day with a PCR-test after dropping the kids off at school, for work tomorrow as I have picked up another LAD tour! I then sorted the house out for the cleaners, and did a session on the treadmill before picking the kids up from their last full school day.
In the afternoon I went back into Maryah island for another game of padel. Unfortunately the forth player didn't turn up (he had gone to the wrong club) so we asked a random guy to play with us, and in the end only got about 30 minutes of play in.

Thursday and early morning exercise before I went to see my friend Karin for coffee. Picked the kids up at 12 and now it's Summer Holidayyyyyys! Yay!
In the afternoon Nathan went to work and I dropped Linnea at Yas Mall where she was meeting a friend for a spot of shopping. After I had gone to do the tour at the LAD, an Express Tour this time so quickly done, I went back to the mall again to pick Linnea up. We got home to celebratory take-away Chinese food, to celebrate the Summer Holidays.

Friday and exercise in the morning for Nathan and I. Kids up suitably late for the first day of the summer holidays and a very lazy day had after that. Daal for dinner and TV all night.

Saturday and Nathan and I started with coffee and exercise, done before the kids woke up. We then went solo to Yas Mall to do a few errands, and had lunch at Burger Fuel, mmm. Did the groceries and went back home, brisket and potato gratin for dinner.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

July 2021 Covid status

A lot of things have changed around here this past month, but I'm not really sure if I would call these changes "steps in the right direction" or not. It mostly feels like one step forward, two steps back at the moment to be honest.


From the 15th of June, to enter any restaurants, malls, beach clubs, museums etc - you needed to be 'green' in your Al Hosn App. The Al Hosn is the app where our vaccinations and all the PCR-tests we take gets logged and are shown. To become 'green' for us who are fully vaccinated, we only need a PCR-test every 30th day, no big issue. But - this system was only in place for three days, before it broke down and got suspended, until further notice.

Additionally on the 28th of June locally developed EDE scanners were taken in use. These devices are supposed to be able to detect infection by measuring electromagnetic waves that change when the RNA particles of the virus are present in someone's body. Very high-tech! Let's see if this is the way forward to beat this.

In good news, the 'Green List' was updated on the 24th of June, and extended with both Norway, Denmark, Finland and - Sweden (amongst others)! Yay! Super good news! This means passengers coming from those countries won't need to quarantine or self-isolate on arriving.


Here are the numbers from today:
* 1675 new cases, from 291,003 tests today.
* 1556 recoveries today.
* We have had a total of 634,582 cases here, and a death toll of 1,819.
* The global death toll has now exceeded 4 M people.

Today 81,142 doses of vaccine has been administrated, which means the total doses administrated stands at 15,3 million and that takes the rate of doses to 155 per 100 people.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Scarred

A little over a week to go before we are supposed to travel.
For real.
On an airplane.
To another country!
Quite a big deal, considering we haven't even left the capital since we got back from Sweden last August. I don't think I have EVER stayed this long in the same place.

Last year I hesitated for a very long time before finally deciding to go to Sweden. I tried to wait out any change in the travel regulations and didn't end up leaving until halfway through July. Still, at the time of our departure, we actually didn't really know if we would be allowed to come back or not.

We were super careful while in Sweden. We only stayed at my parents house, and didn't go see anyone else at all. Only did outdoor activities, stayed away from big crowds and kept shopping to a minimum.
It sure was well needed to get a change of scenery, and lovely as always to enjoy the Swedish summer. Plus it felt good to give my parents a break from their loneliness as they too had isolated themselves since the beginning of the pandemic.
Still, as you might remember, things didn't really go our way. There was SO much stress throughout our stay with scheduling and rescheduling our pre-travel PCR-tests several times according to how the rules changed. There was issues with my ICA approval due to a mistake done at immigration after one of Nathan's flights; and the return travel plans got turned upside down ending with Lucas traveling home on its own, and Linnea and I following a few days later.
It all worked out in the end, but I came back home feeling broken and frail, and, I hate to say it, but those experiences scarred me. I have developed massive anxiety.

Sadly, to travel isn't much easier now, a whole year later. There are still a bunch or regulations to follow if you plan to travel, and they still change with a moments notice. You have to keep track of which different papers, health declarations, vaccine print-outs and tests that are demanded of you, all depending on where you are going. Just traveling between my two home countries is proving complicated, and it is stressing me out. I get thrown back to how I felt last summer, and I feel sick to my stomach thinking of all the worst-case scenarios.

I am trying my very best to accept that because of Covid, uncertainty is going to be a part of life for a very long time. But for someone who likes to plan ahead, be prepared, keep her feet on the ground and (honestly) is quite the control freak, it is really hard to try and be comfortable in the discomfort of not knowing what is going to be. To be 'chill' and 'just go with the flow' is not something that comes naturally for me. But I try, I do.

I do look forward to getting out of here for a bit, and considering all four of us are vaccinated, we are planning a bit more interaction with our people back in Scandinavia this summer. We all need that pick-me-up!
Here's to a stumble-free trip!

Saturday, 26 June 2021

20 June - 26 June 2021

Sunday and a new week. Most of my friends are leaving early for summer holiday already this week. Then it will really be empty and boring around here. Read back my blog posts from June 2020, and sadly, I could have just copied and pasted them - not much have changed. In a YEAR. Back then there was still some optimism though, now I'm a lot more crass. Sad really.
Kids had e-learning today and I did some admin, AND... watched some TV - well of course, who am I kidding! Made creamy salami pasta for dinner, which proved to be a winner.

Monday and we played some padel in the heat again, after a night of not much sleep since our AC packed up (again). Thanks to a small breeze, playing wasn't too bad though.
Nathan and I had lunch at Circle Café before picking the kids up, and after trying to do some more plans around the summer movements, we had Lemon Chicken for dinner. A tad hot today...


Tuesday, exercise and then lunch with Linda to say 'Happy Summer'. We went to discover another new place for us, with a funky, industrial look and very good coffee - Mood Café. Some TV watching in the afternoon, and then pork loins, mashed potato and veggies for dinner before we played another chapter of 'My City'. Three chapters done, five to go..!

Wednesday and even though I was going for padel in the evening, I did a stint on the treadmill in the morning to get some steps in for the day. I also saw Frida for lunch and to say 'Happy Summer' to her too. Padel was great tonight, we played at a sports club in the city brimming with activity. So nice, even in this heat, to see kids playing basket, riding rollerblades, playing football, running etc.


Came home to pasta bolognese for dinner.

Thursday and we finally finalized the summer travel tickets this morning. Great feeling to have a date and be able to start making some more plans, aaahhh!
Apart from this, not much else worth writing about happened today, ha ha. Pulled pork for dinner, was yummy.

Friday and Swedish Midsummer and a slow morning, like any other weekend really.


Lucas went to YWW with some friends in the afternoon, so after I had dropped him off I went to have the car washed and then get some supplies for evening 'fika'. The rest of us had sushi for dinner (close enough to the traditional herring I guess), and then Linnea and I baked a beautiful strawberry cake.

Saturday and not much going on today either. Nathan went to work and today Linnea went to see a friend. Lucas and I hung about at home.
Meatball and potato stew for dinner and movie night with the 'Ice Road' movie. One more week of school (-ish) before summer holidays.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Midsummer 2021

We didn't have a lot of Midsummer feeling today. All the other Swedes have already left for Swedish summer, so nobody left here really to celebrate with. Lucas went to Yas Waterworld with some friends, and the rest of us had sushi for dinner as I couldn't get hold of any herring, so dropped the whole Swedish-Midsummer-food plan.
But I wore a lovely new skirt with flowers!

And Linnea and I baked a traditional Midsummer cake for evening 'fika' with strawberries and cream, and home made custard and raspberry filling. All the goodness:

Saturday, 19 June 2021

13 - 19 June 2021

Sunday and the kids are back at e-learning, again-again. This time "until further notice", which most probably actually means - "See you next term!"... Argh!!!
I had another (yes!) tour at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, this time with a small group from the Danish community, very, very nice! I was lucky bumping in to my Greek friend Amaryllis after the tour, so we had lunch together in the museum café.

Brought home roti for lunch for the others, went to get another PCR (need one not older than 3 days each time I go to work) and did my daily treadmill session. Nathan cooked pasta and meat sauce for dinner, and then we finished both Lupin and Younger.

Monday and finally back to the padel court, yay! We practised our positioning, so lots of moving back and forth, and today it was hot, hot, hot. Made me feel a bit icky for the rest of the day, not good.
Dinner was "whatever-we-could-find-in-the-freezer" which meant pizza for the others and veggie burger for me.

Tuesday and I had another Swedish tour at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. I am so glad that these tours happened, I really enjoy doing tours for people who live here - open their eyes about this amazing place. Today was super nice too, I have so enjoyed being back, telling the stories and talking art! I can't wait until after the summer, hopefully by then there will be many more tours, fingers crossed!


Linnea and I went to do the groceries in the afternoon and then we had tuna pasta for dinner.

Wednesday and I started the day with hotel breakfast to say goodbye to Jennifer and Sara, who are leaving Abu Dhabi for good. Hopefully we will catch up some other time, in some other place!


Then I spent the rest of the day at home, just chilling. Feels really good to have absolutely nothing on my to-do list, for now. Aaahhh.
Nathan was at work and we had chicken and cauliflower curry for dinner before I did my treadmill session almost just before bedtime, better late than never.

Thursday and I started my day without coffee as I had to go and do a breath-test (for my throat issues) at the lab. Lucky it's close by and quickly done, so I could get home and get coffee and get on with my day. Treadmill and a long Zoom call with Carin in Rome made my afternoon. Nathan went to work, the kids got instructed what to cook themselves for dinner, and I went for wine & cheese to say goodbye to a dear Louvre Abu Dhabi colleague who's leaving to return to France.



Friday and I had a bit of a sleep-in, aahh. Nathan went to work, and Linnea baked brownies in the morning (as she had made another batch last night, which the ants had attacked...). Friday feeling galore.
A very chill day all together, I did my exercise and then spent the afternoon catching up on some TV - pizza for dinner in front of the Euro2020 match between Sweden and Slovakia, which ended with a win.

Saturday and another very quiet inside day. Nathan was at work again, and all I had on my schedule was exercise and taking the kids for their PCR, as school is supposed to open again on Monday. Let's see if they can make it all the way to end of term, only 8,5 school days left. Beef Stroganoff for dinner.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

School photos 2020-2021

Better late than never, here are this years school photos, two weeks before end of term. Lucas in Grade 11:


Linnea in Grade 9: